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Playing ball

Politics has taken a backseat. It’s time to be a sport.

With so many camera positions, including an overhead one, and goal-line technology at the World Cup, our eyes were getting a complete workout — that’s if you could keep them open through the night.  (Source: Reuters photo) With so many camera positions, including an overhead one, and goal-line technology at the World Cup, our eyes were getting a complete workout — that’s if you could keep them open through the night. (Source: Reuters photo)

Politics has taken a backseat. It’s time to be a sport.

Last week, everyone seemed to be having a ball. Those who had it, played with it; those who didn’t watched others fool around with it, exercising their lungs (with screams, hoots, songs and “ooohs”). Some exercised their limbs (essaying shots, jumping up in celebration/ frustration), many did both and everyone, but everyone, got exercised by the events on the field, the pitch or the court.

It’s been that kind of week. Politics took a backseat once the dust had well and truly settled after the Narendra Modi government’s formation, despite the searingly hot conditions and in spite of all the outrage TV news anchors tried to generate over Akhilesh Yadav’s latest views on rape. Instead, it was time to be a sport.

You could be a soccer fan, change your T-shirt three times every two hours each night, depending on which nation you supported, while watching the World Cup (Sony Six) — that’s if you could stay awake for the likes of Brazil, Italy, Argentina, Spain. You could be a hockey supporter and stick to the finals between Australia and the Netherlands (Star Sports HD 2); you could also be a connoisseur of lawn tennis and follow the tournament at Queen’s (Star Sports HD 1) as you waited for Wimbledon (beginning June 23), or you could have teed-off on the greens during the US Open golf tournament.

And if your life was not worth living without cricket, first you ought to have analysed what was wrong with you, then watched the England versus Sri Lanka Test series (Star Sports HD 2) or the Bangladesh-India ODI series (Star Sports 1). And prepared yourself for India in England this July. Amazing just how many games you could play without moving an inch.

The greatest activity has been on the soccer field and, of course, off it. With so many camera positions, including an overhead one, and goal-line technology at the World Cup, our eyes were getting a complete workout — that’s if you could keep them open through the night. Luckily, the action is so fast-paced, it wasn’t all that difficult to keep from falling off your chair unless you mistook yourself for a goalie or that Flying Dutchman, Robin van Persie.

And then there’s the commentary, of course. In case you nodded off momentarily at 1.32 am, the commentator’s excited reaction when the ball was nodded into the goal jerked you awake at once. Reminded you of Henry Blofeld celebrating a six in cricket.

The same can be said of hockey. The goals Australia scored happened in a flash and before you knew it, the scoreline read Australia 6, the Netherlands 1. Quite the opposite happens when you switch to watching golf. This requires a very keen eye for the ball sailing through the air and an even keener interest in the game, because the US Open lasts for all of four days — and that too without Tiger Woods.

Which is one day shorter than it took for the first Test match between England and Sri Lanka to end (all of five days and down to the very last delivery) but we’re used to the pace of the game. And you could always have gone to Bangladesh to follow our merry men in blue in the ODIs. On second thoughts, that would have been a bad idea Tuesday, when they folded up for 105.

Still, it was more entertaining than all the soaps on the entertainment channels put together. Other than the serials that appear on Sab TV, there’s not a dry eye between them. There’s always something to cry over: loss of a job (Diya Aur Baati Hum, Star Plus), adultery (Ek Nayi Pehchaan, Sony) or a misplaced mother (Rangrasiya, Colors). No wonder Comedy Nights with Kapil (Colors) has been so popular. At least Navjot Singh Sidhu does nothing but laugh — that’s his role, after all.

Speaking of Comedy Nights with Kapil, have you noticed a weakness for cross-dressing to raise a few laughs? It happens on Comedy Nights and now it’s happening on Entertainment Ke Liye Kuch Bhi

Karega (Sony). Still to understand what’s so funny about a man wearing a woman’s clothes and speaking as though he’s not attained puberty.

shailaja.bajpai@expressindia.com

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